Category: Vital Signs

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The North’s Southern Cash Cow

Contrary to the claims of Marxism, economics does not determine the political structure of a country; rather, the political structure of a country determines its economic system.  The Soviet Union was proof of that.  In the case of the U.S.

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Gay Marriage, Before the Ruling

Justice [Antonin] Scalia: [W]hen did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?  1791?  1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted? . . . Has it always been unconstitutional? . . . You say it is now unconstitutional.

[Theodore

Civil War Cinema
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Civil War Cinema

Life is short.  Although I am a devoted, if amateur, student of Hollywood’s treatment of the great American War of 1861-65, I intended to spare myself the ordeal of Spielberg’s Lincoln.  However, the honored editor of America’s bravest and

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From Mothers to Killers

There’s no way a man can sidestep trouble writing about the prospect of women as combat troops.  You know, mowing the enemy down with machine guns; blowing up things, not to mention people; cutting, slicing, jabbing, stabbing, whatever it takes. 

Frost/Nixon
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Frost/Nixon

David Frost is a schizophrenic.  His creative personality bestrides the Atlantic ocean.  When he’s at home in England, Sir David, as he’s known, fronts daytime-television panels and gives splendid summer parties at the country home he shares with his wife,

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Gay Marriage in the Dock

In the 2012 election, same-sex marriage made gains at the ballot box for the first time—however narrowly—in all four states where “marriage equality” was presented to the voters for decision.  Have the American people been successfully fooled?

Maybe the more

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High Times for Democracy

When George McGovern died, aged 90, two weeks before the last general election, the obituaries rightly praised his long and fitfully distinguished record as a U.S. representative and senator, his years of military service, his plucky presidential campaign against Richard

Piltdown Man
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Piltdown Man

Virginia Woolf once wrote that human nature suddenly changed in the year 1912.  Such things tend to be at the whim of later generations of critics, but there’s no doubt that the idea of an acceptable form of public entertainment

Julian Maclaren-Ross
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Julian Maclaren-Ross

Probably the first thing that ought to be said about the quintessentially flamboyant, hard-drinking, and doomed British author Julian Maclaren-Ross (1912-64) is that he could really write.  Anyone familiar with the genre will know that there’s a long if not

Homage to Gaudi
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Homage to Gaudi

Barcelona is one of the great cities of the Mediterranean, and Barcelona’s most noted architect is Antoni Gaudí i Cornet.  It is worth visiting Catalonia and the cities of Barcelona and Reus just to see Gaudí’s work.  Eager visitors

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To Reach the Limits of Virtue

Commencement speech to the Class of 2012, Veritas Preparatory Academy, Phoenix, Arizona

Thank you for allowing me a few moments to address these graduates.  I am truly honored.  This is an impressive group of young people, so much so that

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Up From Objectivism

It was sort of like being caught in a raging stream, and swimming hard against the current, inch by inch, to reach safety.  The time was many years ago, when, as a college freshman, I fell into the currents of

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In Defence of Poesie

My title, borrowed from Sir Philip Sidney, is deliberately misleading; that is, it does not mean here what he intended when he used it for his posthumous work (1595), known in another edition as The Apologie for Poetrie

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Imperial Dusk

Whether it ends with a whimper or a bang, the American Empire is ending.  WikiLeaks shows that the empire can no longer control the dissemination of information.  Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen show it can no longer militarily defeat insurgencies. 

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Beating the Left at Their Own Game

Leftists love to obsess about hate.  It seems to be on their tongues all the time, and it may have already surpassed racist as their expletive of choice to hurl at conservatives, traditionalists, Middle Americans, and other folks they detest. 

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The Revolution That Wasn’t

“A tremendous victory for property rights”—that’s how the Castle Coalition described voter approval of Initiative 31, which placed limitations on the power of eminent domain in Mississippi.  The November 8, 2011, results made Mississippi the 44th state to modify

Khrushchev Remembers
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Khrushchev Remembers

U.S. President Barack Obama has “Reset” Washington’s relationship with Moscow, seeking to ease Kremlin concerns about Eastern Europe missile defense in exchange for continued U.S. access to Afghanistan over Russian territory.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at her 2009

The Devil and Noah Webster
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The Devil and Noah Webster

Within the Detroit metropolitan area, a short drive from gutted buildings and abandoned neighborhoods, one can step into a pre-industrial America, complete with working farms, horse-drawn carriages, and the charming homes of a now-vanished elite.  Late in life, Henry Ford

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Duty

Two years ago, in one of the history seminars I offer to homeschoolers, I remarked on Robert E. Lee’s convictions regarding duty.  We had just finished reviewing his life—his youth spent as acting head of his small household, his years

Thornton Wilder’s Depression
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Thornton Wilder’s Depression

Thornton Wilder met Sigmund Freud in the fall of 1935.  Freud had read Wilder’s new novel, Heaven’s My Destination.  “‘No seeker after God,’” writes Wilder’s biographer (quoting Freud of himself), “he threw it across the room.”  At a later

Ayn the Antichrist
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Ayn the Antichrist

“If you would know what the Lord God thinks of money, you have only to look at those to whom He gives it.”
—Maurice Baring

“Who is John Galt?” again rings throughout the land.  Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s doorstop

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Conan Doyle

On the evening of September 7, 1919, 60-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle sat down in a darkened room in Portsmouth, England, to speak with his son Kingsley, who had died in the Spanish-influenza epidemic ten months earlier.  “We had strong phenomena

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Faith of Our Forepeople

So, at this big funeral the other day for a local real-estate executive, the congregation is preparing to sing “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”  Great old hymn, yes?  Glad expectations arise.  That is, until the second verse: “Christians, we are treading where

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Thomas Wolfe

Sometimes a great book and the place in which it was read combine to cast a spell so potent and so enduring that both book and place become forever entwined in the memory of the reader.

Whenever I see a

Reviving the West: The Case for Europe
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Reviving the West: The Case for Europe

In the early years of the current century, confident predictions about the inevitable rise of Europe to a position of world power and influence filled the air over the Atlantic.  The recent travails of the European Union have undermined that

An American Family Covenant
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An American Family Covenant

“I used to say to my father,” he says, “‘If my class at Yale ran this country,

we would have no problems.’  And the irony of my life is that they did.”

—Louis Auchincloss, interview with Trevor Butterworth, Financial Times

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Throughly American Healthcare

You would have thought that, at 17 percent of the U.S. economy, the healthcare industry would be much better understood than it apparently is by our Washington brethren.  I can’t help but look back and smile at the image of

Kings Row Revisited
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Kings Row Revisited

The first paragraph of the first chapter of John Lukacs’s Confessions of an Original Sinner (1990) concludes, “A conservative will profess a preference for and a trust in Ronald Reagan; a reactionary will not, and not because Reagan was a

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Facts Are Stubborn Things

It took only 22 years after he left the White House for conservatives to turn Ronald Reagan into a totem.  The celebrations surrounding his 100th birthday on February 6 made George Washington look like a back-bench legislator.  Conservatives hailed Reagan

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Mohammedans in France

It has been about five years since the young, mostly Berber proletariat of the dingy Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles suburbs took to burning its proletarian neighbors’ cars, and there is a looming feeling among French Catholics that something is still

Christophobia and Its Discontents
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Christophobia and Its Discontents

During Pope Benedict’s 2010 visit to Britain, the English philosopher Roger Scruton provided an apt description of the country’s true religion:

The official culture, represented by the BBC, the TV chat shows and the opinion pages of the quality press,

Bury Me With My People
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Bury Me With My People

There he was, Abraham Lincoln in a Confederate Army cap, staring out of the page of an old Courier-Journal.  I had been looking for something else when I happened upon this collateral descendant of the 16th president, photographed in

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Cutting Our Teeth On Twilight

To date, Stephenie Meyer’s young-adult novels about a teenage girl (Bella Swan) and her vampire boyfriend (Edward Cullen) have sold well over 100 million copies worldwide, and the movie versions are still coming.  When a phenomenon is of this scale

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Politics Against Nature

As I write, the lame-duck Congress is revving up for one last chance to do really lasting damage to the country, in the form of the cloyingly titled DREAM Act, which would grant an open-ended amnesty to illegal aliens who

Our Elitists Forge a Useful Faith
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Our Elitists Forge a Useful Faith

The cynical elites of Ancient Rome, said Edward Gibbon, found the religions of the empire equally false and equally useful.  The leftist/corporate elites of our time also agree that religion is false, so much so that they can barely contain

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Mortgages From Hell

A mortgage crisis still haunts the country like a credit collector calling you daily about your unpaid Visa bill.  It’s harder to get a mortgage than it has been in the memory of anyone living.  The banks “only accept the

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Christophobia, Communist and Otherwise

Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev has recently warned Europeans of the dangers of building a completely atheist and secularized society.  That was the situation in Eastern Europe under communism.  Some of the methods may have been different, but the outcome is

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Which Way for Rand Paul?

Of all the Republican successes in the midterm elections, perhaps none has the potential to be as consequential as the elevation of Rand Paul to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky.  Paul was the biggest and most genuine Tea Party triumph

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Hitting the Wall

On October 8, Americans awoke to government reports that the domestic economy had shed another 95,000 jobs in September.  Despite the billions of dollars mailed to select citizens in the form of stimulus checks and the politicized bailouts of protected

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Top—Heavy Schools

It was another day, you know—back when President James A. Garfield could define a university as “Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.”  Which was to say, a great teacher—Hopkins being the renowned

The Borrower’s Crisis
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The Borrower’s Crisis

Like the mindless day traders of the 1990’s who piled into the same hot internet stocks, today’s commentators on the causes of 2008’s residential-real-estate implosion have exhibited a similar obtuseness regarding the workings of financial markets.  One will search in

On the Sullivan Translation of David, Part II
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On the Sullivan Translation of David, Part II

This is the second part of a speech on poet Alan Sullivan that Timothy Murphy has delivered to Catholic and Protestant congregations on the High Plains.  (The first part appeared in the October issue.)  Mr. Sullivan, a frequent contributor to

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Collegiate Bread and Circuses

Ah, the good ol’ days! If only they were as frolicsome and fulfilling as they commonly seem in the rearview mirror!  All that notwithstanding, the shaky balance that, in university settings, once seemed to prevail between academics and athletics gives

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Goodbye to Gold and Glory

“A crocodile has been worshipped, and its priesthood have asserted, that morality required the people to suffer themselves
to be eaten by a crocodile.”

—John Taylor of Caroline

 

“The Father of Waters now flows unvexed to the sea,” Lincoln famously

On the Sullivan Translation of David
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On the Sullivan Translation of David

This is the first part of a speech Timothy Murphy has delivered to Catholic and Protestant congregations on the High Plains.  The second part will appear in a subsequent issue.  Alan Sullivan, a frequent contributor to Chronicles, died on

Terminating an Unwanted Parentcy
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Terminating an Unwanted Parentcy

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

On Writ of Certiorari to the Court of Appeals

June 21, 2017

 

Justice Breyer delivered the Opinion of the Court.

 

Sheila X is a single woman living in San Diego.  Shortly after

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That Election

The Cabinet Office in London’s White­­hall is not generally a hotbed of tourist activity.  The building’s squat, granite façade is screened from public view by a somehow incongruously lush row of elm trees, and, within, it’s a warren of nondescript,

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Driving Home Their Point

A recent story in the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California, gives the lie to the notion that illegal aliens are just here “to do the jobs Americans won’t do” and are largely a law-abiding class of the downtrodden, shifting where they